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Miller keeps the pressure on Champ Car UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I want to thank you for being the only media outlet I can turn to that delivers a fair assessment on the happenings with Champ Car now that they have somehow turned the other media against them.  I hope they don't manage to piss you off too.  Dan Dodson

Another writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I very much enjoy your website and am on it several times a day.
Regarding Robin Miller.............
I don't agree with Champ Car's decision to pull his card but neither do I support his petulant behavior since that time.  Just because he's pissed off he's going to make it his mission to hurt a really good series, I think it's irresponsible journalism.   I don't understand why you would want to constantly provide him with another means to spread his message.  I know Champ Car has its issues but Robin Miller would like to see it destroyed because his feelings are hurt.  I don't share his sentiment, nor probably do most of your readers.
Brad Goeson
St Albert, Alta, Canada

10/14/07 Since losing his Champ Car hard card, Robin Miller has kept the pressure on Champ Car, unearthing or highlighting one weakness after another.  In his latest SPEEDTV.com article, Miller brings into doubt Champ Car's future by highlighting Kevin Kalkhoven's upcoming JDS Uniphase trial. 

On Oct. 23, Champ Car co-owner Kevin Kalkhoven and three other executives from his former company, JDS Uniphase, will begin defending themselves from a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Oakland. Kalkhoven is not facing criminal charges but rather a civil suit for monetary damages.

"He's (Kalkhoven) got a gun pointed at his head, but whether it's loaded or not remains to be seen," said Forrest Bowman Jr., an Indianapolis attorney who has been active in motorsports for four decades. "Sometimes these cases can be very difficult to prove."

The lawsuit claims that JDS and four of its senior officers, Jozef Straus, Anthony R. Muller, Charles J. Abbe and Kalkhoven, misled investors about the value of their business, and that the individual defendants sold their shares at artificially inflated prices.

While we don't expect that Kalkhoven will be found guilty in the trial, it does nevertheless throw doubt into the future of Champ Car, which sends potential sponsors scurrying for the doors.  It's no mere coincidence that Champ Car's three staunchest media supporters, Miller, Gordon Kirby and most recently David Phillips, have turned to pointing out all of Champ Car's weaknesses meaning that Champ Car goes into yet another off-season with many doubts surrounding its future.


Mattias Ekström clinches DTM title for Audi UPDATE
  • Captivating finale in front of record crowd at Hockenheim
  • Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline wins Teams’ title
  • Timo Scheider claims first podium finish in the DTM

Mattias Ekström

At the finale at Hockenheim Mattias Ekström in front of a record turnout of 152,000 spectators clinched the DTM title for Audi. After 2004, the Swede won the most popular international touring car racing series for the second time. For AUDI AG, after 1990, 1991, 2002 and 2004, this is already the fifth DTM title. In addition, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline secured a commanding title in the team classification.

"All Audi employees and Audi customers can be proud of this triumph, which is the crowning of our successful 2007 motorsport season," commented Rupert Stadler, Chairman of the Board of AUDI AG, who witnessed the thrilling finale live at the circuit. "Winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the American Le Mans Series and the DTM in the same year is a fantastic team achievement."

After Mattias Ekström had started to the 2007 DTM season with a victory at Hockenheim in April, the Swede needed no more than a third place in the finale to win the title. After 37 captivating laps the Audi driver crossed the finish line in the final race by 0.434 seconds ahead of Mercedes driver Bruno Spengler, thus relegating him to the position of the runner-up in the Championship.

Read more & Comment...


Subscription Renewals (Working) UPDATE This issue has been cleared up and for those of you who have been trying to renew, it should work now.

10/14/07 We are currently having trouble with subscription renewals.  Please be patient while we work through this issue.  It may not be until Monday before the problem is fixed.


Hamilton unfazed about double Ferrari attack
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton says he is unfazed about the prospect of a synchronised Ferrari assault at the 2007 championship finale next Sunday.

While the British championship leader will be fending off the advances of his own McLaren teammate Fernando Alonso at Interlagos, his other rival - the underdog Kimi Raikkonen - can count on the inter-team assistance of the sister red car, home town hero Felipe Massa.

Massa, who won the race near Sao Paulo last year, has pledged to help Raikkonen to win the title next Sunday if he is in a position to do so.

Read more & Comment...

NASCAR Talladega TV rating UPDATE The final rating for last weekend's NASCAR Nextel Cup race at Talladega was a 4.6, down 9.6% from 2006.

10/08/07 The overnight TV rating for the NASCAR Nextel Cup: UAW-Ford 500 on ABC Sunday was a 4.2, down slightly from last year's 4.3 overnight and down 9% from the overnight rating in 2005.


Wheeler: Make NASCAR more artificial
Longtime race promoter Humpy Wheeler says NASCAR officials need to make "bold moves" to improve racing and keep fans interested by manipulating the race, i.e. making it more artificial so the racing is closer.  Attendance has been soft at some tracks and TV ratings have down for most Nextel Cup races this season. Some fans also have been vocal about their displeasure about the racing this season.

"Every problem we have could be cured by better racing," said Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway.

So, what kind of bold moves would he make?

  • Slow the cars 5 mph.
  • Award more points for wins.
  • Award more points for leading laps.
  • Put half the money that goes into the championship fund into the race purses to make the races more meaningful.
  • Add a halftime break.

Many of the changes, which he's advocated for years, would encourage harder racing throughout an event, he said.

"People don't buy a ticket just to see the last 10 laps of the race, they buy a ticket to see the whole race," he said. "It's not the race for ninth."

Slowing the cars could bunch the field, creating tighter racing, he suggests.


Jarrett won’t get behind the wheel after he retires

Dale Jarrett

Terry Labonte has done it on occasion. Bill Elliott is doing it now. But don't expect Dale Jarrett to join the on-again, off-again trend of former Nextel Cup champions running one-off races sporadically. "As far as coming back, and people wanting you to get in a race here and there, I just don't see that happening, whatsoever," Jarrett said Friday, just after announcing his pending retirement. Jarrett considers it unfair to the teams attempting to run the entire schedule. "I know what that is like [from experiencing it] this year," Jarrett said. "I didn't want to put someone else in that position. The only thing that would change that would be if UPS came to me and said, 'We need you to run this race.'" So what's next? Jarrett will mentor Michael Waltrip Racing development drivers Josh Wise and Michael McDowell, and said he plans to begin discussions with ESPN about his television future very soon. ESPN.com


CoT not living up to billing
It’s the wrong car at the wrong time, but for the right reasons.  That’s one judgment about NASCAR’s car of tomorrow, which in the past few weeks has done the unbelievable: it ruined the show at Bristol and then ruined the show at Talladega, two tracks on tour that always put on great shows.

But not with the car of tomorrow, not this time.

The new model racer, with its admirably bigger greenhouse roll cage (needed for years) and a number of excellent other safety aspects, seems to be going nowhere fast.

Humpy Wheeler, the promoter premier of Lowe’s Motor Speedway, has been a strong proponent of the new NASCAR stock car. But Wheeler and Bruton Smith, and these drivers, are now looking nervously ahead at a major car-of-tomorrow test at Atlanta Motor Speedway in two weeks, a test that is key to NASCAR’s planned introduction of the model next season on the Nextel Cup’s intermediate tracks.

“The car of tomorrow needs work,” Wheeler said bluntly. “I’ve been one of its boosters, but it’s definitely having birthing problems.”

However, NASCAR officials so far have been bullheaded about it, perhaps past the point of commonsense.

Some fans may be voting with their feet and TV remotes: Final ratings for last week’s UAW-Ford 500 on ABC were 4.6, down from last year’s 4.8 on NBC. That downward trend in viewers should be worrisome. More at Winston Salem Journal


NASCAR qualifying system awards mediocrity
Pick a sport—any sport—and you’ll find a paradigm for the survival of the fittest and fastest.

Ideally, a sport is a meritocracy that rewards performance and penalizes mediocrity. The faster you go, the better your result. Whether you’re running the 100 meters in the Olympics, swimming the 200-meter butterfly or making a 300-mile-per-hour run in a funny car, the object is to go faster than your opponents. In NASCAR racing, however, going faster than your opponent isn't always a guaranteed path to success. Never was that more glaring than during the Oct. 5 qualifying session for the UAW-Ford 500 Nextel Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway. Those time trials came straight from the Theater of the Absurd.

To recap, 51 drivers attempted to qualify for the event, but going faster than the next guy was no guarantee you’d be allowed to race on Sunday. In fact, the drivers who posted the ninth, 10th and 11th fastest times failed to make the show.

The driver with the eighth-best time, Dale Jarrett, qualified for the race but was required to start 43rd. The driver with the slowest overall speed, Ken Schrader, made the field, as did two drivers whose times were disallowed because of rules infractions discovered during post-qualifying inspection.

Read more & Comment...
Formula BMW

FMSI expands into Formula BMW Europe
Fisichella Motor Sport International is pleased to announce that it will expand its motor racing repertoire by entering the new Formula One and GP2 support series for 2008 - the Formula BMW Europe Championship.

The team currently competes in the International GP2 Series and over the winter months will also take on the inaugural GP2 Asia Series challenge. The 2008 Formula BMW Europe Championship will support F1 and GP2 for seven races in Europe.

Giancarlo Fisichella, FMSI's figurehead is very positive: "I am delighted that we are strengthening our racing activities by entering this new and exciting championship. Formula BMW Europe provides us with an ideal platform to evaluate and develop new talents, who may then graduate one day to our GP2 racing team."

Team principals Paolo Coloni and Enrico Zanarini are equally excited about the new challenge: "This is a new venture we have been working very hard on for some time. We were very happy to receive confirmation this week from BMW of our team entry and we will now push ahead with our engineering development and driver evaluation programs."


Gore: Paint the country green and gold
Successful Queensland businessman and Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore is encouraging all of Australia to get behind local driver Will Power in next weekend’s Lexmark Indy 300 on the streets of the Gold Coast.

Team Australia co-owner Craig Gore gets into the spirit of things by “surfing” one of Cav’s Steakhouse’s famous themed cows

Gore said he would love to see the whole of the country painted in Green and Gold as Power tries to become the first Australian to win a round of the Champ Car World Series on home soil.

Power sent the crowd into ruptures when he captured provisional pole on the Friday of last year’s event and then clinched the number one starting spot the next day.

“This is the biggest motorsport event of the year in Australia and we have a talented young guy who is more than capable of winning it in Will Power,” said Gore.

Read more & Comment...


New Zealand Takes Sublime Sprint Race Win

Reid raises fist at the line

Czech Republic - A1 Team New Zealand's Jonny Reid raced to a sensational victory at Brno this morning at round two of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season in the Czech Republic, dominating from the first corner to the end of the 10 lap race. Great Britain's Robbie Kerr and Ireland's A1GP debutant Adam Carroll joined Reid on the podium in second and third position respectively.

Reid took the advantage from second on the grid on the run into the first corner of the Sprint race in perfect weather conditions, as pole-sitter South Africa fell back three places to fourth behind a thrilling scrap for second between A1 Team Great Britain and Ireland.

(L to R) Kerr, Reid and Carroll

Kerr managed to hold off the Irish rookie but the pair continued to battle and make contact as Reid started to streak away in 'Black Beauty', edging out a two second lead by the end of lap three. The 23-year-old racer from Auckland was never under threat as the pack settled down behind him and concentrated on their own fights for on-track position.

Read more & Comment...

Stoner wins home GP

(L to R) Capirossi, Stoner and Rossi

Casey Stoner took what he called "my best victory so far" in the 2007 GMC Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix on a brilliant day's racing at Phillip Island on Sunday.

Stoner fired his red Ducati into the lead on the opening corner of the 27-lap race and won going away from team-mate Loris Capirossi. It was his ninth victory of the year and his first at his home track.

The 1-2 finish capped a brilliant day for the charismatic Italian outfit as Ducati added the Constructors' crown to the Riders' title Stoner sealed last time out at Motegi in Japan.

"It's unbelievable to see how many people turned out," added Stoner as a race-day crowd of 50,425 carried the three-day attendance to a record 115,058.

With the Ducatis uncatchable, it was left to Valentino Rossi's Yamaha to make up the podium as the former World Champion pushed his bike to the limit – and nearly beyond, running onto the grass out of Turn 12 on only the second lap in his bid to keep up.

Read more & Comment...


Alonso blasts McLaren boss Ron Dennis
Fernando Alonso criticized McLaren boss Ron Dennis on Saturday for failing to meet the two-time defending world champion's expectations.  "This isn't the treatment a two-time winner deserves, much less a normal person," Alonso was quoted as saying by the Spanish media following qualifying for the Chinese Grand prix.

"From outside the team, I had a different image, serious and very professional. I came here after winning two world championships and I improved the car all I could. I expected a lot more, we all expected a lot more," he said.

"We all know how the team celebrates the victory of one team member and the other," Alonso said. "And when you hear the declarations of your boss saying that he feels a paternal sentiment for one of your teammates and rivals, then you know that you can never have much trust in what that person will do."

"From what they've said and done it doesn't look as though they are very keen and that they've got enough with one of the two drivers that are here and I've no problem with that," he said. "There are another 10 or so teams that are interested in me."

Alonso spared McLaren teammate Hamilton any criticism. The 22-year-old Englishman can become the first rookie to win the Formula One title with a victory in Shanghai, China.

"He will deserve it if he wins the title," Alonso said. "If I don't win this year it's because someone has scored more points than me, and if that's the case it's because he has done a better job."


CVC paid $1.7B for F1 group
The precise value of the Formula One motor racing group has been revealed in the latest filings of its UK holding company, Alpha Prema. The documents state that private equity firm CVC paid $1.7bn (£834m) for the group in March last year and the value is around 70 per cent higher than previously estimated.

Over $2bn of loans were secured in the leveraged buyout and the finance fees totaled $57m. Accountancy firm Ernst & Young alone received $2m for assisting with the debt-raising and $1.5m in due diligence fees connected to the acquisition.

Bambino, the family trust of F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone, netted $478m from the sale, with three investment banks – JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers and Bayerische Landesbank – receiving the lion's share. They owned a 75 per cent stake in the sport which they received by being creditors of its previous owner – the fallen media giant Kirch.

The key cash-generating company in the F1 group is Formula One Administration (FOA), which holds the lucrative commercial rights to the sport and, according to its latest accounts, has annual revenues of $790m.

However, this does not include the estimated $300m generated annually by F1's trackside advertising and corporate hospitality. These revenues flow into Irish and Swiss companies which were later acquired by CVC at an estimated cost of $350m. This makes the F1 deal one of the largest ever done by CVC.

By comparison, in 1999, the private equity giant paid a total of $1.2bn for bookmaker William Hill, and four years later it jointly led a $4bn buyout of the Debenhams department store chain. The Independent

industry news

GM at highest since '04
A string of solid successes is winning General Motors Corp. respect on Wall Street, propelling the automaker's shares to a three-year high on Friday.

GM's new money-saving labor pact with the United Auto Workers is behind the latest stock price surge as investors absorb implications of the deal reached on Sept. 26 and ratified Wednesday.

Shares shot up nearly 7 percent on Friday to close at $42.64. GM's stock price has surged more than 40 percent since the start of the year.

But beyond the labor deal, GM has been buoyed by its ability to cut costs and improve a lagging product lineup, all while making landmark changes to how factories operate and workers get paid.

While GM still faces major hurdles, investors long skeptical of promises made by the automaker are beginning to see GM as a company that delivers. Now, the No. 1 U.S. carmaker must translate that changing image to the minds and wallets of consumers.

"I'm sure there are plenty of people who looked at this company as 'the troubled GM,' " said Joseph Phillippi of AutoTrends Consulting. "This could help them from a consumer perspective. People are going to take a more rational look at the company as a potential source for vehicle purchase." Detroit News


FIA officials to ensure McLaren equality in Brazil UPDATE Niki Lauda, a former F1 Champion, reckons the initial idea for the watchdog came from Alonso.

"I think that Fernando Alonso could have put the idea into their head," he told the Bild newspaper.

Meanwhile the Austrian has warned Alonso to expect to play hardball with McLaren team boss Ron Dennis when they finally sit down to discusses his future with the team.

"Ron is not an easy man but I always knew the limit, I cannot damage my sponsors or the people who pay my money," he told Reuters.

"It will be interesting to see what happens after Brazil."

10/11/07 (GMM) The highest ranking Spanish motor sport official will travel to Brazil next weekend to ensure that McLaren give equal treatment to countryman Fernando Alonso for the 2007 championship finale.

Carlos Gracia, also an FIA vice president and member of the World Motor Sport Council, confirmed to the newspaper Diario As that he has accepted the invitation to watch proceedings at Interlagos from the Woking based team's garage.

"Ron Dennis extended me an invitation so that I can see that they have nothing to hide, and I decided to accept," he said.

Gracia insists, however, that his presence will not be in an official FIA capacity, and that he believes McLaren's announcement on Wednesday that Alonso and his teammate Lewis Hamilton will be treated equally in Brazil.

"Logically it could not be different," he explained, "also because behind them is a Ferrari driver, so that McLaren has to fight against the red cars, not their own driver."

But Gracia also revealed that the FIA will commission an official to formally ensure that equality is adhered to at McLaren for the last race of 2007.

He said "strange situations" have arisen at McLaren, particularly in qualifying at the last three grands prix.

Gracia said he met with FIA president Max Mosley a few days ago and laid out his concerns, and also put the issue in writing.

He said the FIA responded with confirmation that an official will watch "very closely any activity that is against Alonso" at the event


US Army to sponsor DEI Chevy in 2008 UPDATE "We are thrilled to be associated with the United States Army and representing our men and women in uniform," said Max Siegel, president of global operations for Dale Earnhardt Inc. "The No. 8 has a long tradition in the Earnhardt family and it is only fitting that it will be showcased on the soldiers' car that will be driven by Mark Martin, one of the most revered drivers in NASCAR history, and a young talent in Aric Almirola."

"As a proud partner of Dale Earnhardt Inc., the U.S. Army is honored to have the soldiers' car carry the No. 8, which has a rich tradition and a remarkable Earnhardt family legacy," said Michael J. Sullivan, U.S. Army deputy director of marketing and advertising. “We are excited about continuing the Army spirit in NASCAR and having Mark Martin and Aric Almirola driving the No. 8 Chevrolet."

10/12/07 The U.S. Army will sponsor Mark Martin and Aric Almirola in the no. 8 Dale Earnhardt, Inc. Chevrolet Impala for the 2008 NASCAR Cup season. The U.S. Army previously sponsored the no. 01 Chevy owned by Bobby Ginn, who merged his operation with DEI earlier this year.  Martin will drive the car in 24 races in '08, with Almirola taking the wheel for 12 races.


Britain slams online attack on Hamilton
(GMM) The British press has reacted furiously to news that an online biography about Lewis Hamilton had been vandalised.

An unknown Spanish employee of McLaren's carmaker parent DaimlerChrysler is accused of changing the Wikipedia entry about the 22-year-old championship leader to read that Hamilton is "ugly" and a "very bad driver" whose driving style is "bizarre, dangerous and illegal".

The Daily Telegraph called the attack a "cheap shot" fuelled by "Spanish paranoia" regarding Lewis' teammate Fernando Alonso, little more than a week before the teammates' bitter battle for the 2007 title climaxes in Brazil.

Another British newspaper, the tabloid Daily Mirror, added: "Spain's Fernando Alonso has inflamed home fans claiming he is not being given equal treatment by McLaren".

Wikipedia corrected the errors and locked Hamilton's public entry until October 20, while IP logs traced the vandal to a computer located within the Daimler network in Spain.

"Investigations are still continuing," a spokesman for the German manufacturer said.


Brno: South Africa takes Sprint race pole
Adrian Zaugg set the single fastest lap during the first two qualifying segments putting 'Vulindlela' in the top spot for the start of the Sprint race, followed by 2006 pole-sitter New Zealand's Jonny Reid who will start from second place.

Zaugg was pleased with his third pole position of the 2007/08 season but also frustrated after making a few mistakes:

'We are just running on old tires like most of the guys. We were on old tires this morning so it was very difficult to know how the car would behave on new tires so I think we really did a good job. Germany was just ahead of me on the exit of turn one but to be fair I don't think it cost me that much time, maybe a couple of hundredths but then I had two or three little mistakes from myself so I threw it away there, but it is still a good position and we have a good chance for tomorrow.'

Reid was held up by traffic but still managed to qualify second for the Sprint race and feels confident ahead of tomorrow's two races:

Read more & Comment...

Brno: Netherlands takes feature pole
With the Sprint race grid decided, all 22 teams waited for the closing moments of the final qualifying segment to take to the track for their last flying lap, which would determine the grid for the Feature race.

Jeroen Bleekemolen, who has been on superb form all weekend, set the fastest lap overall during the final two 15-minute qualifying segments, putting A1 Team Netherlands in pole position for the start of tomorrow afternoon's Feature race at the picturesque Brno circuit. The Dutchman was also on pole for last year's A1GP Sprint race at Beijing, but the grid had been decided on free practice times due to the cancellation of qualifying, making this his first pole position based on actual qualifying results.

Despite spinning off during Q2, the 25-year-old Dutch driver was clearly delighted with his team's performance today:

'I am really happy. We took one pole position before but that wasn't the real qualifying although we were on the pace that weekend so we sure had a shot at pole, but you don't know how it would have turned out. I am really happy to do it this time and I think also for the race this looks really good as we have been on the pace all weekend. I am really happy to be there and we will see where we end up.'

Read more & Comment...

Toro Rosso loses Fuji point appeal UPDATE Having met yesterday, 12 October, in Paris, the FIA International Court of Appeal rejected Scuderia Toro Rosso's appeal against the 25 second penalty imposed on Vitantonio Liuzzi after the Japanese Grand Prix, which cost him the one point for eighth place.

After the verdict was announced today, Scuderia Toro Rosso Team Principal Franz Tost said: "Obviously we are disappointed, but we accept the decision of the court. Now, all our attention is fixed on next weekend's final round of the season in Brazil, where we hope to build on the good form the team."

10/13/07 (GMM) Toro Rosso on Friday lost its appeal against a stewards' decision, the FIA and the Spyker team confirmed on Saturday.

Vitantonio Liuzzi actually crossed the line in eighth place ahead of Spyker's Adrian Sutil in the rain-soaked Japanese grand prix, but stewards imposed a 25-second penalty on the Italian because he had allegedly overtook Sutil under yellow flags.

Toro Rosso is believed to have argued in Paris on Friday that marshals failed to wave a green flag for Liuzzi and Sutil after the yellow-flag zone, despite the fact that the stricken Super Aguri was more than a kilometer behind them.

Toro Rosso reportedly also argued that no flags at all - green or yellow - were being waved at the point at which Liuzzi passed Sutil.

"Having heard the explanations of both parties and having examined the various documents and other evidence, the Court confirmed the decision of the Panel of the Stewards of the Meeting," a statement issued by F1's governing body read on Saturday, without giving further detail.

Spyker boss Colin Kolles commented in a statement issued by the Dutch team: "We felt our case was without doubt, and the FIA had no objections to our evidence."


Sharp to remain in IRL for another year

Scott Sharp

Scott Sharp is exploring options in sports-car racing, but he said it's not at the expense of his Indy-car program. Sharp, 39, is the oldest driver in the IndyCar Series and will return to Rahal Letterman Racing in 2008 with Patron sponsorship.

"We're committed to the IRL for another year, at least, although we might add a sports-car race here or there," he said. Sharp, who shared the league's first championship with Buzz Calkins in 1996, said he doesn't think age has slowed him.

"It's all perception," he said. "If you're winning races in a Penske car, no one asks about your age. But if you're 45 and running mid-pack, people tend to point fingers." Sharp, who has nine career IRL wins, finished eighth in points this season. He is the last driver on a team other than Penske, Ganassi or Andretti Green to win a race (at Kentucky in 2005). Indystar.com


Hulkenberg wins race, Grosjean title
Nico Hulkenberg won the next to last round of the Formula Three Euro Series at Hockenheim, but his ASM teammate Romain Grosjean wrapped up the title by finishing second.

Pos  Driver                Car                 Time/Behind
 1.  Nico Hulkenberg       Dallara-Mercedes    37:53.393
 2.  Romain Grosjean       Dallara-Mercedes    +   1.268
 3.  Yelmer Buurman        Dallara-Mercedes    +   3.806
 4.  Kamui Kobayashi       Dallara-Mercedes    +  10.361
 5.  Sebastien Buemi       Dallara-Mercedes    +  13.600
 6.  Edoardo Mortara       Dallara-Mercedes    +  14.746
 7.  Yann Clairay          Dallara-Mercedes    +  15.511
 8.  Daniel Clos           Dallara-Mercedes    +  25.871
 9.  Tim Sandtler          Dallara-Mercedes    +  26.568
10.  Jean-Karl Vernay      Dallara-Mercedes    +  34.922
11.  Franck Mailleux       Dallara-Mercedes    +  37.955
12.  Edoardo Piscopo       Dallara-Mercedes    +  45.886
13.  Carlo van Dam         Dallara-Volkswagen  +  49.066
14.  Marco Holzer          Dallara-Volkswagen  +  55.165
15.  Basil Shaaban         Dallara-Mercedes    +1:00.534
16.  Maximilian Gotz       Dallara-Volkswagen  +1:00.860
17.  Tom Dillmann          Dallara-Mercedes    +1:18.488
18.  Harold Schlegelmilch  Dallara-Mercedes    +1:31.043
19.  Cyndie Allemann       Dallara-Mercedes    +   1 lap
20.  Filip Salaquarda      Dallara-Mercedes    +   1 lap
21.  James Jakes           Dallara-Mercedes    +  4 laps


     Driver                Car                 Laps
     Michael Patrizi       Dallara-Mercedes    3
     Renger van der Zande  Dallara-Mercedes    0


Q and A with A1GP’s Scott Hollingsworth
After the recent announcement by A1GP that they were forming a partnership with Ferrari, who will supply the series engines and consult with them on their new car, AutoRacing1.com posed these questions to Scott Hollingsworth, Chief Commercial Officer for A1GP.

From a commercial standpoint, what does the Ferrari name do for the A1GP series? 
From a commercial perspective, the Ferrari brand confirms that A1GP is heading in the right direction. It has a "halo" effect that will attract other global brands to the series that, like Ferrari, see the cost effective platform A1GP provides to reach fast growing economies around the world.

Ferrari FXX

Additionally, it connects with consumers around the world, which will benefit our race promoters. The agreement with Ferrari contemplates having the Ferrari Challenge and FXX races as part of A1GP events where possible - so fans will get to experience the magic of Ferrari road and race cars at events.

The agreement covers licensing and merchandising also. This will move A1GP forward roughly five years overnight on the merchandising front.

Finally, it will provide better television distribution opportunities and the possibility of lifestyle oriented programming to wider audiences, where A1GP will be a featured segment of these programs.

Read more & Comment...


Brno: Reid tops practice 3
New Zealand's Jonny Reid turned the fastest lap in Saturday morning A1GP practice in Brno.  The Netherlands' Jeroen Bleekemolen was 2nd. 


A1 Team Driver Time Gap Laps
1 New Zealand Jonny Reid   1'46.469 18
2 Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen   1'46.880   0.411 12
3 Ireland Adam Carroll   1'46.881   0.412 16
4 Switzerland Neel Jani   1'46.913   0.444 14
5 France Nicolas Lapierre   1'47.519   1.050 21
6 Mexico Michel Jourdain Jr.   1'47.691   1.222 15
7 Great Britain Robbie Kerr   1'47.720   1.251 19
8 China Cheng Cong Fu   1'47.840   1.371 15
9 Brazil Sérgio Jimenez   1'47.887   1.418 17
10 Malaysia Alex Yoong   1'47.917   1.448 14
11 Canada James Hinchcliffe   1'48.078   1.609 17
12 Czech Republic Erik Janis   1'48.104   1.635 20
13 Australia Ian Dyk   1'48.202   1.733 22
14 Germany Christian Vietoris   1'48.264   1.795 18
15 South Africa Adrian Zaugg   1'48.486   2.017 18
16 Italy Enrico Toccacelo   1'48.516   2.047 15
17 India Narain Karthikeyan   1'48.535   2.066 13
18 Pakistan Adam Khan   1'48.577   2.108 19
19 USA Buddy Rice   1'48.899   2.430 21
20 Indonesia Satrio Hermanto   1'48.944   2.475 20
21 Portugal João Urbano   1'49.250   2.781 18
22 Lebanon Khalil Beschir   1'50.877   4.408 17


Busch: Burton wins fourth race Of season

Jeff Burton
CIA Stock Photo

In a war of attrition—and on the night of a milestone—Jeff Burton pulled away from Kyle Busch during an 11-lap green-flag run to the finish to win the Dollar General 300 Busch Series race Friday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.

Burton finished 1.598 seconds ahead of Busch and extended the lead of his No. 29 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet to 116 points in the owner’s standings over the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Chevy driven by Denny Hamlin, who finished fifth. Dale Earnhardt Jr. ran third, followed by Aric Almirola.

“We had a really good car, and we got better as the night went along,” said Burton, who started at the rear of the field because of an engine change and drove to the front to win his fourth Busch race of the year and the 26th of his career. “We had some luck today, and we just got it right when it counted. It was fun to drive.”

Burton was losing ground to second place Earnhardt before the 10th and final caution flew on Lap 186 after Reed Sorenson crashed into the Turn 4 wall.

“I was glad to see that caution,” Burton said. “I don’t think I would have been able to hold Junior off.”

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Pedrosa snares pole in Australia

Dani Pedrosa

Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa will start Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix from pole position after riding a breathtaking lap in the final moments of qualifying at Phillip Island today. This is the 22-year-old Spaniard’s second pole in a row and his third of the 2007 season. His teammate Nicky Hayden looked destined for his fifth front-row start on the trot, but just lost out in the final sector of the lap and will start tomorrow’s race from fourth on the grid, directly behind Pedrosa.

The afternoon’s one-hour MotoGP qualifying session remained dry throughout in a welcome contrast to the three practice sessions so far this weekend, all of which had been affected by rain. The Repsol Honda team took advantage of the first part of the session to advance the RC212V’s race trim and tire choice, before the serious business of qualifying began with 20 minutes of the hour remaining. Pedrosa’s first hot lap put him in third position but with his second flyer he knocked a full second off that time to set an unbeatable mark of 1m 29.201s, 0.218s ahead of Valentino Rossi in second. Pedrosa’s pace and consistency on race tires was also promising and he’ll be hoping for good weather and a rapid start in tomorrow’s race.

Hayden’s ever-quick qualifying pace looked destined to claim him a front row start at one of his favorite venues. The American has taken pole position in the previous two years at Phillip Island and at the final split of his second flying lap, with only the final long left-hander to go, he was down by only 0.122s on Pedrosa’s benchmark and looked in with a chance of making it three poles in a row here. But his sticky rear qualifying tire couldn’t quite hold on in the super-demanding corner and he missed out on stealing the final place on the front row from Casey Stoner by just 0.116s. However, Hayden was happy with his improved pace on race rubber and, with further adjustments to his RC212V, the 26-year-old will be looking to duel at the front when the lights go out at 3pm local time (7am CET) tomorrow.

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Democrats told to get vaccinated is a slam on NASCAR fans
Being around NASCAR fans requires no inoculation.

That's the word Thursday from Republican officials after learning a Democrat-controlled congressional committee advised staffers to get vaccinated for hepatitis and other diseases before visiting NASCAR events in Concord and Talladega, Ala.

"Democrats should know that there is no preventive measure yet designed to ward off the blue-collar values and patriotism that NASCAR fans represent," said Linda Daves, chairwoman of the N.C. Republican Party. "If they aren't careful, they just might catch some of it."

A lawmaker whose district includes the Michigan International Speedway said Democrats must not understand the term "rubbin' is racing."

"To suggest that vaccines are needed to attend NASCAR races is insulting to millions of hard-working Americans who love their country and the smell of burnt rubber," GOP Rep. Tim Walberg said in response to an Observer story about the immunization recommendation.


Jarrett talks about his retirement plans

Dale Jarrett

Dale Jarrett, driver No. 44 UPS Camry, Michael Waltrip Racing
“This seemed a lot easier a couple months ago when I started thinking about this than it is to stand here today.  And, I just got off the internet to make sure I had this right because it seemed like everybody else knew what I was doing.  So, I wanted to make sure I was going to tell you the same things that were out there.  I’m just here today to officially announce a reduced schedule for Dale Jarrett’s driving career.  Last year, I signed up to do two years with Michael Waltrip Racing and with UPS and in the last three months there has been a lot of thought and consideration that has gone into what’s best for my sponsor -- UPS,  who I have been with for seven years now.   Trying to determine what was best for myself and my family and what was best for Michael Waltrip Racing.  I came to the conclusion and went to UPS with the idea that I would like to back out of all 36 races and gave them options of what I felt would be best for them.  I wanted to give them options to determine what was best for them to do in moving into the future.  In no way, shape or form -- and I can’t stress this enough -- was I asked or forced to reduce my schedule by either UPS or Michael Waltrip Racing.  This was a decision that I made, I went to my wife Kelly about it and that was how the decision came about.”

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Bridgestone Champ Car race preview -- Australia
Race Details: Timed event - 1 hour, 45 minutes. Track distance is 2.795 miles (4.498 kilometers).
Television Broadcast: Live - Saturday, October 20, at 11:30 p.m. EDT on ESPN Classic. Repeat - Sunday, October 21 at 6 p.m. EDT on ESPN2.
Bridgestone Potenza Tires Supplied:
   * Primary (black-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 554, each car gets seven sets.
   * Alternate (red-sidewall) dry-condition slicks: 166, each car gets two sets.
   * Wet-condition (rain) tires: 340 with tread pattern, each car gets four sets.
   * In a normal dry-condition race, each car must use at least one set of primary and one set of alternate Potenzas. The primary and alternate tires' construction is identical, but the alternates possess a tread compound with better grip ("softer"), making them faster but possibly not quite as durable. The alternate tires are easily identified by their bright red sidewalls.
   * Bridgestone Motorsport is bringing its medium-grip primary street-course Potenza specification to Australia, along with a higher-grip street-course alternate spec. The wet-condition tire is the softer rain tire, referred to as the "street course rain."  The dry-condition specifications are identical to those used at Surfers Paradise in 2006. This is the only 2007 race application for the primary spec, while the alternate spec for Surfers Paradise previously served as the primary race tire at Las Vegas, Long Beach, Houston, Toronto and San Jose.

From Al Speyer, Executive Director, Bridgestone Motorsport: "Returning to the Australian Gold Coast is always a delight for Champ Car teams, drivers, suppliers and sponsors alike. We're annually treated to a great time and great crowds. It's incredible to think that no driver has won more than once Down Under; we'll have to see if that streak continues. The race is often full of surprises, but there should be none concerning the Bridgestone tires. We're returning with the same primary and alternate tire specifications that were used here a year ago, when they performed quite well on the fast and technical street course. We expect nothing less from the Potenzas this time around. Will one of the five previous Surfers champions in the field finally give us a repeat or are we destined for another first-time winner? We can't wait to find out."


Kanaan tops open IndyCar test at Barber
Andretti Green Racing's Tony Kanaan topped the speed chart as seven drivers representing four IndyCar Series teams tested the 16-turn, 2.38-mile road course at Barber Motorsports Park.

Tony Kanaan

Kanaan recorded a quick lap of 1 minute, 9.7430 seconds (118.722 mph) in his No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Honda-powered Dallara at the test, which allowed IndyCar Series officials to evaluate technical changes for the 2008 season.

Scott Dixon, driving the No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing's car, was utilizing the paddle shift system that will be implemented during road/street races, beginning with the Honda Grand Prix of St. Petersburg in April. The variable ratio steering rack was on Helio Castroneves' No. 3 Team Penske car.

"I think it makes the car easier to drive; it's not as difficult physically," said Dixon, the 2007 IndyCar Series championship runner-up. "You're more relaxed in the car; you don't have other things to think about. All you have is knowing how many gears you have to go down and pushing the little lever.

"In the race, you won't have people making as many mistakes (as using the sequential shift gearbox off the driver's right thigh). People who were losing speed because they weren't as good with their technique and downshifting will improve their lap times quite a bit. It will make it a lot easier for them.

"I prefer the sequential box that we had, but for safety and technology it's definitely the way to go. I think there's still room for improvement by smoothing out the shifts."
IndyCar Series and Honda Performance Development officials will address issues brought up by Dixon, but the system is "99 percent there," according to IndyCar Series senior technical director Les Mactaggart.

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Ethanol council shoots down Champ Car? No. UPDATE A reader writes, Dear AutoRacing1.com, I was made aware of your posting and while I know you had the best intentions, it is important that you know that your interpretation of EPIC's member communication is totally off the mark.  We are eager to engage with any motorsports series interested in converting to an ethanol blend, including Champ Car. The ethanol industry is looking for a way to make Champ Car's fuel switch happen in 2008 or in the nearest possible future.  I hope you will post my response. Thank you in advance.  Reece Nanfito

10/12/07 It is clear from the newsletter below that Champ Car pitched EPIC (Ethanol Promotion and Information Council) and was shot down.  NOT GOOD, as Ethanol has been very aggressive to use motorsports to get its message out.  Rumor is that EPIC is working on a deal to take NASCAR Cup all Ethanol in 2009, but with the multiple engine manufactures an agreement on the conversion technology to be used as well as the commercial arrangements was too complex to get done for 2008.

Basically, Champ Car got shot down even from a B2B level (no cash) and after that happened asked if the Promotion Council for Ethanol (EPIC) would make its member manufactures aware of the ‘opportunity’.

Why would a single supplier be interested in absorbing the cost of providing Champ Car with the expertise and product as the only benefit would be to Ethanol in general not the individual plant or manufacture of the Ethanol provided?  Champ Car late to the party again.  Shows they are pitching other series sponsors though.

-----  EPIC NEWSLETTER: 'EPIC Member Insider 10-11-07'

Champ Car
The IndyCar Series and the American Le Mans Series' conversion to ethanol-enriched fuel has been a huge success throughout the 2007 racing season. As a result of this success, the Champ Car World Series has reached out to EPIC and expressed a high level of interest in switching to E85 for the 2008 race season.

Due to our existing commitments going into 2008, we have determined that EPIC is unable to directly sponsor Champ Car's conversion to E85. However, we would like to extend the opportunity to our members.

The Champ Car World Series has made a strong presentation of their capabilities and plans for an E85 focus in 2008. We are aware that an EPIC member company may value such a partnership, and may benefit from the relationship. The Series would be interested in discussing direct sponsorship, company or brand exposure in exchange for an E85 fuel supply, or some combination of the two. It is hoped that a company or group of companies may gain significant TV exposure and race market exposure as a result of the sponsorship. And, as has been shown, every time ethanol becomes the fuel of choice in a major motorsports series, the entire ethanol industry wins as well.

If your company is interested in exploring this opportunity, please contact Reece Nanfito, EPIC’s senior director of marketing at rnanfito@epicinfo.org or 402-932-0567, to facilitate a meeting with the proper Champ Car representatives, and help with developing a program to make E85 the official fuel of the Champ Car World Series in 2008.


Armor All to sponsor Stewart
Armor All announced today they will sponsor two-time NASCAR Nextel Cup Series champion Tony Stewart in the 2008 season-opening event for the NASCAR Nationwide Series at Daytona Int'l Speedway on Feb. 16.

Armor All will also serve as primary sponsor for Tony Stewart Racing driver Donny Schatz in the World of Outlaws Series for the entire 2008 season.


Michael Waltrip Racing takes on new investor
Michael Waltrip Racing announced today that Robert Kauffman, a founder and managing partner of Fortress Investment Group, has acquired a 50 percent stake in the team, which will now be known as Michael Waltrip Racing Holdings, LLC.

MWRH also announced the hiring of Larry Johns as its Chief Financial Officer and former Nextel Cup team owner Cal Wells III as its Executive Vice President of Operations.


Dale Jarrett to retire In 2008
Dale Jarrett has announced that he will be hanging up his helmet next season after a 24-year career in NASCAR's premiere series.

Jarrett will drive the no. 44 UPS Toyota Camry in the first five races of the 2008 season for Michael Waltrip Racing before turning the wheel over to David Reutimann, who will finish out the season in the no. 44 car

Dale Jarrett

Jarrett will also race in the pre-season Budweiser Shootout as well as the all-star race on May 17, marking his final start in NASCAR competition.

Reutimann will start the 2008 season driving the no. 00 MWR Toyota before taking over the no. 44 car. MWR development drivers Josh Wise and Michael McDowell will spilt the driving duties in the no. 00 for the balance of the 2008 season.

industry news

Chrysler will cut Q4 production
Chrysler LLC's top product strategist on Wednesday said the automaker will deepen production cuts in the fourth quarter while pumping $3 billion into developing new products.  In a candid assessment of Chrysler's product woes, Vice Chairman Jim Press outlined plans to turn around the automaker's lagging sales during a dealer event to showcase new vehicles.

The company's market share outside of North America "rounds to zero," he said. "It can't go down. It will go up."

Press said Chrysler has been building vehicles customers don't want. To begin to remedy the situation, he said, the carmaker will cut 82,000 vehicles out of fourth-quarter production. The move will cut revenue by $1 billion.

The cuts should reduce inventory by 100,000 units by this time next year, Press said.

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Kanaan to drive for AGR at Laguna

Tony Kanaan

Andretti Green Racing announced today that Brazilian Tony Kanaan will join Bryan Herta in piloting the #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a at the Monterey Sports Car Championships. This will be Kanaan’s third appearance in the XM Acura during the 2007 season. In March, Kanaan teamed with Herta and Dario Franchitti to win the LMP2 class at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring. It was the first ALMS race for Andretti Green Racing and Acura. He was also part of AGR’s entry in last weekend’s Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta. Kanaan, the 2004 IndyCar Series champion, finished third in the championship in 2007. He won more races (five) in 2007 than any other driver in the IndyCar Series. He has 12 career IndyCar Series victories and 13 major open-wheel racing wins.

Tony Kanaan, #26 XM Satellite Radio Acura ARX-01a: “I’m really happy to be driving in the final ALMS event of the season. Unfortunately the Petit race didn’t go like we’d hoped but we had a very strong showing at Sebring and I know Bryan (Herta) and I want to help Acura end the season on the same high that we started it on. I had some success at Laguna Seca in my CART days and I’m looking forward to getting back there.”

Michael Andretti, Chief Executive Officer, Andretti Green Racing: “Tony (Kanaan) was the logical choice for us at Laguna Seca. Not only has he proven himself as one of the top race car drivers in the world today but he showed everyone at Sebring that he’s capable of putting the XM Acura in victory lane. Tony and Bryan (Herta) have both been successful at Laguna Seca in the past and we hope that continues into the ALMS car.”


ALMS Petit LeMans TV rating
The weekend crowd of more than 100,000 fans was not Petit Le Mans’ only success last weekend at Road Atlanta. Television ratings were up 35 percent from a year earlier with Nielsen estimating that more than 383,000 viewers tuned into the fall endurance classic.

Seems the world’s premier sports car series is gaining some converts in NASCAR’s backyard as well. The Daytona Beach-Orlando market drew the highest rating (0.82) of all metered markets. Other top markets included Richmond (Va.), Portland (Ore.) and Las Vegas. 

The 10th running of Petit Le Mans saw the closest finish in its history with Dindo Capello and Allan McNish of Audi Sport North America nipping Romain Dumas, Timo Bernhard and Patrick Long of Penske Racing by 0.923 seconds. ALMS PR


Germany sets pace in Friday practice
Czech Republic - Defending champion A1 Team Germany dominated today's free practice sessions at Brno circuit, as the second round of the 2007/08 A1GP World Cup of Motorsport season got underway in the Czech Republic.

Christian Vietoris

18-year-old Christian Vietoris, who has tested but never raced at Brno, topped the time sheets with a blisteringly quick 1m45.336s around the 5.4km circuit, breaking the lap record of 1m47.696s which was set by Malaysia's Alex Yoong at last year's A1GP Brno event in October 2006.

Vietoris is pleased with his team's start to the weekend and is looking forward to qualifying tomorrow:

'We started with a really good setup in the rookie session. It was a pretty good start and the car was quite good. In the second rookie session we had a little problem but we were able to get the car ready for the second practice this afternoon and we had a good level and new tires so now we're looking forward to tomorrow.'

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Renault unmoved by Alonso reports
(GMM) Renault on Friday was unmoved by mounting speculation that Fernando Alonso will return to the team in 2008.

Germany's Bild newspaper claimed on Thursday that the Spaniard has now signed a letter of intent to rejoin the French squad next January for three years until 2010.

The news followed reports that Toyota was prepared to spend in excess of a record $50m per year to secure the reigning double world champion.

Finnish tabloid Ilta-Sanomat added to the rampant rumors on Friday with a report that Alonso's preliminary three-year deal is actually with Ferrari, starting in 2009.

In a short statement, Renault would not confirm or deny its interest in Alonso, who won back to back drivers' titles with Enstone built cars in 2005 and 2006.

"The team will not comment on the speculation that has appeared in the media," the French squad said.

"We will announce our drivers for next season when we are ready to do so."

tv news

Weekend USA TV Reminders UPDATE #2 The full Saturday and Sunday TV listings are now shown below.

10/11/07 The full Friday TV listings are now shown below.

Courtesy of TVRacer.com

12:00am-12:30am ESPN2
A1 Grand Prix Netherlands
12:00pm-2:00pm (9/30/07) SPEED
5:30pm-6:00pm ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Series Final Practice Lowe's
6:00pm-7:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Qualifying Lowe's
7:00pm-9:00pm (L) ESPN2
The Chase is On -Preview Lowe's
9:00pm-9:30pm SPEED
Survival of the Fastest Talladega
9:30pm-10:00pm SPEED

NASCAR Live! Lowe's         
3:00pm-4:00pm (L) SPEED
NASCAR Busch Series Qualifying Lowe's
4:00pm-6:00pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Nextel Cup Happy Hour Lowe's
6:00pm-7:30pm (L) ESPN2
NASCAR Busch Series Dollar General 300 Lowe's
7:30pm-8:00pm   (L) -Pre-race
8:00pm-11:00pm (L) -Race ESPN2

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Nominated drivers for Brno
The following drivers have signed-on to compete in the A1GP Brno, Czech Republic

A1 Team

Driver 1 Driver 2
Australia Ian Dyk John Martin*
Brazil Sergio Jimenez*
Canada James Hinchcliffe Robert Wickens*
China Congfu Cheng Marchy Lee*
Czech Republic Erik Janis* Tomas Enge
France Nicolas Lapierre Nicolas Prost*
Germany Christian Vietoris*
Great Britain Robbie Kerr
India Narain Karthikeyan Parthiva Sureshwaren*
Indonesia Satrio Hermanto*
Ireland Adam Carroll*
Italy Enrico Toccacelo Paolo Bossini*
Lebanon Khalil Beschir*
Malaysia Alex Yoong Aaron Lim*
Mexico Michel Jourdain Jr*
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen Arie Luyendyk Jr*
New Zealand Jonny Reid
Pakistan Adam Khan
Portugal Joao Urbano*
South Africa Adrian Zaugg Wesleigh Orr*
Switzerland Neel Jani Natacha Gachnang*
*Drivers marked with a star are eligible to participate in the first official practice session on Friday 12 October 2007, reserved for rookie drivers and developing nations only.

industry news

Taurus flop turns spotlight on marketing
When Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally decided to bring back the Taurus name on a redesigned version of the Five Hundred, experts say, it was a grand opportunity for Ford marketers to revive a well-known brand name that had been a best-seller in its heyday.

But nearly four months later, the Taurus launch clearly missed its mark, industry experts and several dealers told the Free Press. They all blamed a misdirected advertising campaign by the company's marketing department, which is being revived with new leadership. More at Detroit Free Press

[Editor's Note: Hilarious.  Sure blame the marketing department.  Detroit continues to churn out inferior cars and consumers decided they were tired of getting screwed and turned elsewhere.  Period.  End of story.]


Busch team to try 4 Sprint Cup races in '08
SKI Motorsports officials announced Thursday at Lowe's Motor Speedway that it would field a Sprint Cup team in four races next season. Stanton Barrett will be the driver, with sponsorship coming from NOS Energy Drink.  SKI Motorsports has fielded a part-time Busch Series team for the past three seasons. The team will enter the Daytona 500, the Coca-Cola 600, the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and the Sharpie 500 in 2008.

Barrett will use the No. 50 in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Daytona 500 - the most prestigious race in NASCAR.

"We believe that there is a place in NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing for smaller teams," team owner Chris Lencheski said. "The key is to build solid relationships with sponsors that are enthusiastic about the boundless opportunities available to them in NASCAR. From there, you must invest in the right people and equipment to put yourself in a position to compete with the best in the sport."

SKI and Stanton Barrett Motorsports combined forces this season in the Busch Series. An announcement on "increased involvement" by the team in the Nationwide Series will be made in the coming weeks.  Scenedaily.com


Unlike former Champ Car stars, Hornish struggles
Whereas former Champ Car stars Montoya, Villeneuve, Franchitti and Carpentier have no problem qualifying and racing in NASCAR races, the same cannot be said for the IRL's biggest star, Sam Hornish Jr. (OK, yes Danica 'I cannot win a race' Patrick is the IRL's biggest star, but Hornish is their most successful driver, even though we never rated him.

Sam Hornish Jr.

He's had tremendous success in IndyCars - winning three championships and last year's Indianapolis 500 - but his tryout in stock cars hasn't been nearly as smooth. He's still trying to make his first Nextel Cup event, and dropped to 0-for-4 after failing to qualify for Saturday night's race at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

"We knew it was going to be difficult coming in," Hornish said Thursday. "We'd like to have been racing a couple times so far, but we knew this was a possibility. We knew this was going to be tough, and that's why I said I wanted to do this."

"I've tried to really stay with the IRL and do all the things I could do," he said. "I feel I can only do so much - somebody will replace me. It might not be today or tomorrow, but there will always be the next American driver. I think I've tried to do the best I could for myself, the league and open wheel racing in general.

"But sooner or later, I'm going to quit racing. I am not always going to be able to do it."

A longtime open-wheel loyalist, Hornish now finds himself one of the many newcomers in NASCAR.

All the moves have been full of fanfare, but Hornish has just quietly plugging along. He can't get into a Cup race, and he's not turned too many heads in the eight Busch Series events he's run, with a 15th-place finish at Atlanta earlier this season his best showing.  Most races he crashed out even though he has better equipment (Penske) than all those Champ Car drivers mentioned above.  Why is this?  Because in 100% throttle racing your driving skills diminish.  The driver just turns the wheel to avoid the other cars.  Car and throttle control are non-existent.  OK, yes the IRL has now added road and street circuits, but Hornish has not impressed on those.

It should be noted that one Champ Car driver, AJ Allmendinger, has failed miserably in NASCAR, but that's probably more to do with the rookie Toyota team than him.


Stoner leads opening day at wet Phillip Island
Despite a crash with no great consequences towards the end of the second MotoGP free practice session, newly crowned World Champion Casey Stoner was well in control of proceedings on Friday at the GMC Australian Grand Prix. On an overcast and somewhat windy afternoon at Phillip Island Ducati Marlboro’s Stoner repeated his morning trick of topping the timesheets to make a good start to his homecoming weekend.

Casey Stoner

Although Stoner was the only rider unable to improve on his morning time in the second outing, his afternoon lap of 1’312.86s was 0.154s slower than his best FP1 time but still enough to keep him ahead of second fastest participant Marco Melandri (Honda Gresini) by 0.269s.

Melandri by contrast had improved on his own morning best by more than four seconds, but was still 0.423s off Stoner’s early pace.

Behind the leading pair on the timesheet was Repsol Honda’s Dani Pedrosa who lapped the Phillip Island circuit – where he has had mixed luck on previous visits - in 1’31.802s to leave him over half a second down on MotoGP’s latest champion overall.

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Macau Grand Prix 25th year anniversary
The very first name on the list of Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix winners is that of motor racing legend Ayrton Senna. This year, one young future star will become the 25th name on that list, joining the likes of Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Takuma Sato who have each taken the prestigious title on their way to international stardom.

Macau winners who are now knocking on the door of Formula 1 by competing in the GP2 feeder series include 2003 victor Nicolas Lapierre, 2005 champion Lucas di Grassi, and Briton Mike Conway who took victory in the Far East Classic last year.

Other former conquerors of the Guia Circuit have gone on to highly successful careers in other senior categories of racing.

Alexandre Premat, winner in 2004, is this year contesting the highly- competitive German touring car series, DTM, as well as the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours, having had a taste of Formula 1 with the Spyker MF1 Racing outfit at last year's Chinese Grand Prix.

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Lexmark 300 future secure
In response to recent speculation regarding the future management structure of Australia’s number one motorsports event, the Lexmark Indy 300, event partner representatives Greg Hooton of IMG (International Management Group) and Event Chairman Terry Mackenroth make the following statement:

“I cannot understand where all the current rumor and speculation has been circulated from and take offence to such accusations of instability in regards to Australia’s number one motorsport spectacular,” said Lexmark Indy 300 Chairman Terry Mackenroth.

“The future of our current management structure, which has yielded countless major successes over the past decade, is in good hands.

“The Queensland Government and IMG have more recently exchanged letters of intent to continue our partnership and only some of the finer details of the agreement are still being worked through at the moment.

“Our current agreement will take us through to the 2008 event and we expect to cement a formal arrangement between the Queensland Government and our event partners IMG to take us through another five year contractual period up to and inclusive of the 2013 event.”

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Team Australia drivers arrive on Gold Coast
Team Australia drivers Will Power and Simon Pagenaud have arrived on the Gold Coast ahead of next week’s Lexmark Indy 300, greeted by team co-owner Craig Gore today.

Craig Gore and his two Team Australia drivers

Gore and assembled media gave a warm welcome to the Team Australia pair at Conrad Jupiters Casino this morning. For Power this event represents unfinished business after grabbing his debut Champ Car pole at last year’s event only to be taken out by Sebastien Bourdais mid-race.

Power has been training in his hometown of Toowoomba in Queensland for the past week but has now hit the Gold Coast ahead of a hectic week of pre-race preparations and commitments.

Pagenaud touched down from the United States this morning and is making his first visit to Australia.

The Gold Coast turned on a sunny and warm day for the Frenchman today and last year's Champ Car Atlantic Champion is excited about the opportunity to see the Gold Coast before concentrating on scoring his first Champ Car podium at his team’s home event.

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NASCAR cooties
House Homeland Security Committee staffers are on a peculiar mission to study "public health issues at events involving mass gatherings," which has personally insulted Rep. Robin Hayes of Concord, North Carolina.

The event: NASCAR.

The rub: the requirement that the Democrat and Republican staffers attending first be immunized against Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, tetanus, diphtheria, and influenza.

"I have never heard of immunizations for domestic travel, and as the representative for Concord, North Carolina, I feel compelled to ask why the heck the committee feels that immunizations are needed to travel to my hometown," Mr. Hayes, a Republican, said in a letter to Rep. Bennie Thompson, Mississippi Democrat and committee chairman.

"I have been to numerous NASCAR races, and the folks who attend these events certainly do not pose any health hazard to congressional staffers or anyone else," Mr. Hayes said.

A committee staffer says that the Republican staffers have declined the shots but that two Democrat staffers were immunized before attending the race at Talladega last weekend.

A phone call to the committee spokesman was not returned.

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